CSUN Sustainability 2020

Edible Food Recovery at CSUN

CSUN Edible Food Recovery Program: A Collaborative Initiative between Chartwells and Food Cycle LA

The Edible Food Recovery Program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at reducing food waste and diverting edible surplus from landfill. In a successful partnership between CSUN's dining services provider, Chartwells, and the nonprofit organization Food Cycle LA, the program addresses the critical issues of food waste and food insecurity simultaneously.

Chartwells, responsible for managing dining services on campus, plays a pivotal role in the program by identifying and collecting surplus food from various campus dining locations. This includes excess prepared meals, perishable items, and unopened packaged goods that would otherwise be discarded. The collected food is then carefully packaged and transported to local community organizations by Food Cycle LA.

Food Cycle LA, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting hunger and reducing food waste, acts as a crucial link between CSUN and the broader community. They organize the logistics of collecting, storing, and distributing the recovered food to local shelters, food banks, and community centers. This ensures that the surplus food is redirected towards those in need, contributing to alleviating food insecurity in the surrounding area.

The collaborative effort not only addresses the environmental impact of food waste but also strengthens the university's commitment to social responsibility. By diverting edible food from landfills, the program aligns with sustainability goals while making a positive impact on the local community. This innovative model demonstrates the potential for partnerships between educational institutions, dining service providers, and nonprofit organizations to create holistic solutions that benefit both the environment and vulnerable populations.

Since launching the program in January, over 300 lbs of edible, mostly prepared food has been donated to local organizations including Love, Evan and La Voz Church. 

 Careit, an edible food recovery technology, tracks all donations so that all partners have documentation on the amount of food donated at each pickup.